Pre-Covid-19, mindfulness had already been steadily migrating from the domain of the leftfield towards mainstream acceptance and an improving reputation as a valid business tool.
Approaches to Mindfulness
There are many approaches to mindfulness and different people find different techniques helpful. Some take quite easily to formal meditation practice, others find that simply walking will help clear their mind of random thoughts and worries, or practising easy breathing exercises suits them better.
But at its core, whatever methods we use to get there, the basic proposition that mindfulness offers to us in the workplace is that we all work better, more effectively and more productively with a clear mind. It’s hard to argue with that.
Benefits of Mindfulness
There is plenty of research and evidence of the practical, measurable benefits of mindfulness programmes in the workplace – they include reduced sick days, increased productivity and better team morale, all of which help feed the bottom line. Which is why it’s been embraced by some serious business players like Google, Yahoo, Capital One, Nuffield Health, British Telecom and even the UK Parliament. Not exactly ‘leftfield’ companies.
With so many of us now working fully or partly remotely during the Covid-19 restrictions, there are new challenges for the practice of mindfulness. Many remote workers struggle to keep focused, and their time management on track while working at home, often with multiple potential distractions around.
Team managers are faced with finding new ways to direct and mentor their team remotely, keeping project progress on track while moving to a task-based model to replace time-based working – and all the while, looking after the well-being of their key people. A daily video call is not the ideal way to get a sense of how things are really going with colleagues; it’s hard to replace that quiet chat over a coffee.
Individual or team mindfulness exercises, conducted either on or offline, can help keep remote workers and managers focused and their minds clear of the extra clutter that comes with the territory. It can be something as simple as a few minutes’ silence together at the start of a video meeting, with everyone focusing on pressing pause on the background worrying and thinking about everything from health to holidays. Give it a try – you may find your video meetings get shorter and more productive right away.
At the Anthony Gregg Partnership, we work with our clients in a wide range of ways to improve individual and team performance. We like to think that we’re pretty open-minded too.